When Charles Bainbridge, Chief Inspector of Scotland Yard, is called to the scene of the third murder in quick succession where the victim’s chest has been cracked open and their heart torn out, he sends for supernatural specialist, Sir Maurice Newbury and his determined assistant, Miss Veronica Hobbes.
The two detectives discover that the killings may be the work of a mercenary known as the Executioner. French, uncannily beautiful, her flesh covered in tattoos and inlaid with precious metals, the Executioner is famed throughout Europe. But her heart is damaged, leaving her an emotionless shell, inexplicably driven to collect her victims’ hearts as trophies.
Newbury and Hobbes confront many strange and pressing mysteries on the way to unearthing the secret of the Executioner’s Heart.
Book Four in the Newbury & Hobbes series.
I feel it’s with this book, The Executioner’s Heart, that the Newbury & Hobbes series really came into its own. I’ve no real basis for that, other than a sense that it’s my favourite of my books so far, and the best constructed, at least in terms of the unfolding mystery and mounting threat.
It was also with this book that I stopped thinking of the novels as a series of done-in-one adventures, too, I think, and started to see them as snapshots of the character’s lives, those critical moments when relationships are forged, when friendships are either tempered or broken by the application of external pressure. There’s no doubt that I’ve put Newbury and Veronica through the wringer, and I think in this book they have their hardest time yet. Things don’t end well, and we’re left on a terrible cliffhanger – who can be trusted, and who will live or die…
“George Mann not only fashions a satisfying thriller plot but wraps it in the foggy decadence of a world where airships, artificial clockwork hearts, and motorised hansom cabs sit alongside Satanist cabals and establishment conspiracies. The result is a splendid fusion of Conan Doyle, Le Fanu, and Wells.”
“A smoothly interlocking Victorian steampunk mystery featuring a pair of delightfully human and fallible detectives, a sympathetic yet ruthless villain, and a well-told tale true in spirit to both historical period and genre. Fans will enjoy the latest addition to this series, while newcomers may feel compelled to read the previous series titles.”